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Food & Hunger

Introduction to food security

There is enough food in the world for everyone. Locally-sourced solutions will ensure that everyone has enough to eat and families can build their communities without worrying about securing one of our basic human rights. Let's build a world without hunger.

Malnutrition is associated with over a third of child mortality. Nutrition is an excellent investment—it empowers people and communities. In doing so, nutrition fuels the development process and leads to poverty reduction.

Improved nutrition is central to improved income generation, poverty reduction, and more rapid development. Well-nourished mothers are more likely to give birth to well-nourished children who will attend school earlier, learn more, postpone dropping out, marry and have children later and give birth to fewer and healthier babies, earn more in their jobs, manage risk better, and be less likely to fall prey to diet-related chronic diseases in midlife.

The consequences of malnutrition for well-being and for socio-economic development are far-reaching. In infants and young children, undernutrition and growth retardation are associated with reduced physical activity, impaired resistance to infection, impairment of mental development and reduced educational capacity, and increased morbidity and mortality.

However, despite clear evidence of the disastrous consequences of childhood nutritional deprivation in the short and long terms, nutritional health remains a low priority. It is time for nutrition to be placed higher on the development agenda.

A number of simple, cost-effective measures to reduce undernutrition in children are available. These measures include improved maternal nutrition and care, breastfeeding within one hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, and timely, adequate, safe and appropriate complementary feeding and micronutrient intake in the following 18 months. Urgent, accelerated and concerted actions are needed to deliver and scale up such interventions so as to extend the gains made thus far.

In adults, undernourishment can lead to poor health and diminished productivity through reduced physical performance and can hinder community and national development. Improvement of the nutritional conditions of the poor and undernourished is an investment which can help raise the productive capacity of both present and future generations.

What goes wrong?

1)   Food prices spiked in 2008/2009 which led to riots in 40 countries across the world. Global increases in food prices directly affect smaller countries, and can lead to food scarcity. For example, food scarcity has gotten worse in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. But larger countries in Asia were able to protect their markets by bringing in strict trade policies and protect consumers. As a result, while the number of undernourished increased sharply in sub-Saharan Africa, it remained constant in Asia.

2)    Natural disasters lead to food scarcity. Population growth is placing a strain on a limited natural resource base, but changing weather patterns are creating more droughts and floods, which dramatically decrease crop yields.

3)    Conflict affects food security by reducing availability, access and agricultural output through the destruction of the environment, health and health care, education, and other social infrastructure. Moreover, conflict adversely affects a country’s openness to trade. 

VIDEO CREDITS Originally aired at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City on September 29th, 2012.

DIRECTED BY Jonathan Olinger and Michael Trainer SERIES CREATIVE DIRECTOR Michael Trainer WRITERS Lindsay Branham, Jonathan Olinger NARRATED BY Rachel Brosnahan PRODUCED BY DTJ ( PRODUCER Lindsay Branham EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Michael Trainer CINEMATOGRAPHY Julian Tovar ORIGINAL SCORE Ryan O'Neal ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Adam Butterfield LEAD EDITOR Lindsay Branham EDITORS Jonathan Olinger, Austin Peck VISUAL EFFECTS Dan DiFelice MOTION GRAPHICS Dan Johnson COLOR Matt Fezz SOUND DESIGN Ben Lukas Boysen SOUND MIX Charles de Montebello, CDM Studios, NYC VOICE OVER RECORDING CDM Studios, NYC VERY SPECIAL THANKS TO Jane Rosenthal, Nancy Lefkowitz, World Food Program Guatemala